A thick blanket of grey hovered overhead as Ray and I headed towards Callington free car park this morning while mizzle hung about in the air; how many would venture out today we wondered?
The plan was to car share from there as we knew from experience that there is very little room at Cadsonbury car park itself as this is where the many dog walkers leave their vehicles too.
By the time we were actually setting off on this muggy morning it had brightened up a bit and as this was yet another walk that we haven’t done in a very long time, our group of fourteen were full of anticipation. But apart from a single dog that was actually standing in the River Lynher here at Cadsonbury Woods, it was only a fallen tree that was blocking its flow part way along that caught our attention; we concluded that some heavy machinery is going to be needed to tackle that jumble of branches!
Once out of the woods and onto the narrow lane again, everyone followed Maggie back towards the old arched bridge passing our cars as we did so and then, as soon as there was a break in the traffic, she led us across the road to turn left down a quiet lane. Here beside the former mill was stile number one which was pointing across a hay meadow towards stile number two. Angus was soon leading the way scattering grasshoppers and tiny moths as he slinked along through the long grass, but once stile number three was behind us, we thought here would be as good place as any for a break before continuing any further so as soon as Angus realised what was going on, he plonked himself down in the middle of the of this huge field to watch while the flasks and cold drinks were brought out and their contents consumed.
After passing through a couple of gates we exited the farmland via a vast patch of Thistles and Burdock and out into what looked like a fly tip. From here a dark, shady lane led us down to the hamlet of Frogwell with an old stone chapel that has re-invented itself as a holiday let and some attractive stone buildings. At a junction we searched for a footpath sign and found it concealed behind some Ivy but as expected, it was pointing towards a farm. Although we knew it was a permissive path, it still felt intrusive opening their gate and strolling in between a cluster of privately owned farm buildings in search of the footpath.
Up and up we walked along the narrow, little used and very overgrown footpath; it was shady here and water trickled down beneath our feet but some of us remembered that another stile would appear right at the top so we just kept going, one foot in front of the other with our eyes down watching where we placed our feet and being attacked by branches from all directions. A large flock of sheep occupied the next field, but Angus had yet to spot them and was still busy gnawing a thick stick he had found earlier.
A steep climb faced us now causing the sheep to move quietly off out of our way while we dodged their scattered dung as we trudged upwards. Swallows were swooping overhead catching insects that we and the sheep had disturbed while off in the distance we cast our eyes towards the Iron-Age hill fort. But the worst was over; it was fairly flat from here until another gate led us onto the former coaching road. It was very rocky underfoot and made me feel glad I hadn’t been born into a century when stage coaches were pulled along here by four horses, shaking and juddering their way downhill before splashing through a ford that predated the stone bridge we had walked over earlier and would be again very shortly when another walk neared its conclusion.